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Luxury brands: Are SUVs or cars more popular?

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Name a luxury car—BMW, Mercedes-Benz, Audi, Porsche, Lexus. Odds are the picture that pops into your head is a sedan, coupe or convertible. However, increasingly luxury auto buyers are opting for the SUV instead of the car when they decide on their next vehicle.

Let’s face it: Americans love SUVs. There’s no denying the convenience afforded by their higher seating position, extra cargo capacity, and go-anywhere capability. As the modern SUV has morphed from a truck-based vehicle to a car-based vehicle, the previous shortcomings of clumsy handling and poor fuel economy have been greatly mitigated.

As consumers are willing to pay a premium for the benefits of an SUV, automakers have responded with an ever increasing portfolio of small, medium and large sized offerings. This is perhaps no more apparent than with luxury brands where the competition is moving into smaller SUVs that serve as a gateway into the brand for consumers who might have previously considered a vehicle from a luxury brand as being too expensive. Porsche recently launched the smaller Macan SUV, and Mercedes’s forthcoming GLA-Class will compete with Audi’s approaching Q3 and the already-on-sale BMW X1.

Given all of the options, we weren’t surprised when we noticed that SUVs made up the majority of luxury vehicles purchased by Cartelligent clients in the first half of this year. What did surprise us was that when we looked at SUVs as a percentage of sales by each brand, Porsche tops the list. To help explain this, we also tabulated what percent of each brands’ model line-up consists of SUVs (see below for our methodology). Porsche’s two SUVs (the Macan and the Cayenne) are sold alongside only four car models (the Boxster, Cayman, 911 and Panamera), so the SUVs make up 33% of the models it sells. Lexus has a similar SUV percentage in its model line-up and finds itself in second place on an SUVs-as-a-percentage-of-sales basis.

The other surprising finding is that while Audi currently sells just two SUVs (the Q5 and Q7), together they account for 51% of the Audi vehicles purchased by Cartelligent clients. We love the Q5 and Q7, and apparently so do you.

What We Counted

We counted unique body-configurations (not engine or drivetrain options, or performance or long wheelbase versions) that were on sale and available during the first half of 2014. We omitted exotic vehicles over $150,000.

  • Porsche – 2 SUVs (Macan, Cayenne); 4 cars (Boxster, Cayman, 911, Panamera)
  • Lexus – 3 SUVs (RX, GX, LX); 6 cars (CT, IS, IS C, ES, GS, LS)
  • Mercedes-Benz – 4 SUVs (GLK-Class, M-Class, GL-Class, G-Class); 12 cars (CLA-Class, C-Class, C-Class Coupe, E-Class, E-Class Coupe, E-Class Cabriolet, E-Class Wagon, CLS-Class, CL-Class, S-Class, SLK-Class, SL-Class)
  • Audi – 2 SUVs (Q5, Q7); 12 cars (A3, A4, allroad, A5, A5 Cabriolet, A6, A7, A8, TT, TT Roadster, R8, R8 Spyder)
  • BMW – 4 SUVs (X1, X3, X5, X6); 15 cars (2 Series, 3 Series Sedan, 3 Series Coupe, 3 Series Convertible, 3 Series Wagon, 3 Series GT, 4 Series Coupe, 4 Series Convertible, 5 Series, 5 Series GT, 6 Series Coupe, 6 Series Gran Coupe, 6 Series Convertible, 7 Series, Z4)

 

Whether or not a new luxury SUV is the vehicle for you, Cartelligent can help you get a great deal on exactly what you want. Call our team of car-buying experts at 888.427.4270 or get started today.